Tagliani Fast but Unlucky on the Streets of St. Petersburg St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 5, 2009) - The first race of the season didn't go quite the way Conquest Racing had planned. After qualifying seventh for the Honda Grand Prix...
Tagliani Fast but Unlucky on the Streets of St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg, Fla. (April 5, 2009) - The first race of the season didn't go quite the way Conquest Racing had planned. After qualifying seventh for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Alex Tagliani, who has been impressive aboard the Conquest car, fell victim to bad luck today. However, it wasn't all that bad, as the fast Canadian still managed to salvage a tenth place finish and register the second fastest race lap with his #34 Rexall Edmonton Indy car, thus proving his and the team's competitiveness.
Things got exciting right from the start when Tagliani, who had a good start, had to cut through the inside of the track to avoid hitting Graham Rahal, who was spinning in front of him. That first incident cost Tag a few positions, but after some early pit stops by other competitors he was up to eighth. He remained in that position, posting competitive lap times, up until his first pit stop on lap 29. Two laps later, bad luck struck again when Vitor Meira hit him from behind. The punt caused a puncture on the Conquest car and forced Tagliani to limp back into the pits, it also caused him to go one lap down.
From that point on, the Conquest crew was hoping that luck would come back to them in order to turn their race around. Unfortunately the much desired caution period came one lap too late and they were unable to get their lap back. The action started heating up near the end of the race with incidents taking out competitors ahead of Tagliani. The IndyCar Series' lone Canadian was able to stay out of trouble and bring his car home in tenth place all while registering the second fastest lap of the race.
Conquest Racing now heads back to Indianapolis and hopes to be at the next race in Long Beach, a venue where the team knows they can run competitive and get a good result.
Conquest Quote Board
#34 Alex Tagliani Rexall Edmonton Indy Dallara/Honda/Firestone "We had bad luck today. It was unfortunate at the start. I tried to avoid a free for all. I had to get on the inside of the track to avoid not wrecking with Graham (Rahal) who was spinning in front of everyone. That cost us a couple of positions and then I got a puncture because (Vitor) Meira punted me from behind on the back straightaway. I don't know what he was thinking. That cost us our race right there. I went a lap down because of that. We were just unlucky because the Rexall Edmonton Indy car was really quick. We put in the second fastest lap of the race at the end. I think if we would have been in the mix, we would have had a good run. I just wasn't at the right place at the right time. I want to thank the team for doing a fantastic job this weekend. I wanted to give them, as well as Northlands and the Rexall Edmonton Indy, a better result than this but at least we showed that Conquest Racing is a very competitive team and that we can fight with the best of them."
Eric Bachelart, Team Owner "I am very pleased and proud with what we achieved this weekend. Alex once again proved how valuable he is to a race team. We were competitive in qualifying and in the race. I think scoring the second fastest race lap is evidence of that. There were many contacts during the race and at some stage we unfortunately were on the receiving end. We suffered a puncture after contact with (Vitor) Meira that cost us the race and a very likely top five finish. We will now go back to shop and try to find some solutions so that we can make it to Long Beach. I know that, that is a track where we will be very competitive and we certainly don't want to miss out on that race."